Newspaper logo  
 
 
Local News & Opinion

Ref. : Civic Events

Ref. : Arts & Education Events

Ref. : Public Service Notices

Travel
Books, Films, Arts & Education

10.18 Why Germany Is So Much Better at Training Its Workers

10.18 For a Better Brain, Learn Another Language

Letters
Open Letters:

Ref. : Letters to the editor

Health Care & Environment

10.21 Boston University study finds possible link between traumatic brain injuries and domestic violence

10.21 Paralysed man Darek Fidyka walks again after pioneering surgery

10.20 The Ebola Wars

10.20 Amazon deforestation picking up pace, satellite data reveals

10.20 Cuba’s Impressive Role on Ebola

10.19 The Ebola crisis: Much worse to come [map graphic]

10.18 The Dutch boy mopping up a sea of plastic

10.18 US eyes buffet option in global climate talks

10.18 Fossil fuel divestment: climate change activists take aim at Australia's banks

10.18 Ebola 'could be scourge like HIV', warns John Kerry

News Media

Daily FAIR Blog
The Daily Howler

Justice Matters

10.20 Megarich Plaintiffs, Legally Adrift

10.18 How Oil and Gas Leases for Fracking Rip Off Homeowners

10.18 Stand-your-ground gun laws 'benefit whites more than blacks', experts say

US Politics, Policy & Culture

10.21 Warren Makes the Case

10.21 Texas Just Won the Right to Disenfranchise 600,000 People. It's Not the First Time. [A disgraceful history]

10.21 Yes, Mass Shootings Are Occurring More Often [graphs]

10.21 The Bottom 90 Percent: No Better Off Today Than in 1986

10.21 Can Homeless People Move Into Baltimore's Abandoned Houses?

10.21 Chart: Values of Homes Owned by African Americans Take Outsized Hit Compared to Those Owned by Whites

10.21 You might be a politician if ... you tried to defund Ebola research, only to campaign on Ebola fear

10.19 The Racist Housing Policies That Built Ferguson

10.18 Elizabeth Warren: 'We're All Looking at You, Colorado!'

10.18 The One Attack That's Working for Democrats: Bashing the Wealthy

10.17 Watch Jon Stewart slam Mitch McConnell as architect of government failure [2:40 video]

10.17 $10.10 Minimum Wage Would Save The U.S. Government $7.6 Billion A Year

10.17 Court Strikes Down Arkansas Voter ID Law

10.17 Rate of Mass Shootings Has Tripled Since 2011, Harvard Research Shows

10.17 From 'One Tough Nerd' to Embattled Governor

10.17 Southern Evangelicals: Dwindling—and Taking the GOP Edge With Them

High Crimes?
Economics, Crony Capitalism

10.20 The Feds Just Approved a New GMO Corn. Here's Why I'm Not Rejoicing

10.20 EPA: Those Bee-Killing Pesticides? They're Actually Pretty Useless

10.17 Chris Christie: New Jersey Bill Challenges Governor's Subsidies To GOP Donors

10.17 The Mixed International Picture on Poverty and Inequality

10.17 Matt Stoller: Why We Need to Break Up Amazon – and How to Do It

10.17 "More Money Than I Could Count": Mitch McConnell's Very Special Relationship With Lobbyists

International

10.21 Afghan opium poppy yield hits all-time high

10.20 The Mission

10.20 Deadly Ukraine Crash: German Intelligence Claims Pro-Russian Separatists Downed MH17

10.20 Turkey to let Iraqi Kurds reinforce Kobani as US air-drops arms

10.19 Full Show: Keeping Faith in Democracy [25:20 video]

10.19 The tech innovators of the Victorian age

10.18 The Tide Slowly Turns in Kobani

10.17 43 Mexican College Students Disappeared Weeks Ago. What Happened to Them?

10.17 Isis targets Baghdad with wave of car bombs and mortar attacks killing 150 [1:12 video]

We are a non-profit Internet-only newspaper publication founded in 1973. Your donation is essential to our survival.

You can also mail a check to:
Baltimore News Network, Inc.
P.O. Box 42581
Baltimore, MD 21284-2581
Google
This site Web
  One Foot in the Grave: Iran Attack Nearer, More Likely Than Most Suspect
Newspaper logo

HOW IS IRAN HAVING NUKES WORSE
THAN BUSH HAVING NUKES?

One Foot in the Grave: Iran Attack Nearer, More Likely Than Most Suspect

by Chris Floyd
Saturday, 22 March 2008

A very important, very disturbing -- and almost entirely overlooked -- piece appeared on Juan Cole's Informed Comment site this week. It was a guest column by William R. Polk, laying out, in copious and convincing detail, the evidence indicating that the United States will indeed launch a military strike against Iran, most probably before George W. Bush leaves office.

However, even if Bush does hold off for some reason, the processes that Polk describes will almost certainly lead the next president into war with Iran, especially as the three remaining major candidates have forcefully pledged to keep "all options, and I mean, all options on the table" (Polk quotes Barack Obama's bellicose formulation). And none of them are likely to have the political courage that Polk rightly says would be necessary to climb down from the highly aggressive posture that both parties have adopted toward Iran.

Polk is no radical firebrand; indeed, he comes toting heavy Establishment lumber: White House service (under John Kennedy), top academic and institutional posts, weighty books on history and international affairs, etc. Yet he paints as stark a picture of the situation as the most implacable dissident.

One development that has arisen after the article was posted gives added credence to Polk's case. In recent days, both Bush and Dick Cheney have revived the scaremongering threat of an Iranian nuclear bomb that had seemed diffused by the NIE report earlier this year. Of course, that report  -- in which America's myriad intelligence agencies declared their consensus view that Iran's nuclear weapons program is moribund -- was itself a more subtle piece of scaremongering. Because the report asserted -- without any credible evidence -- that Iran HAD been building a nuke until 2003. While the headlines focused on the overall conclusion, the Bush Administration made hay with that latter assertion: "See, we told you Iran has been building a nuclear weapon! We were right."

They weren't, of course, but this assertion was a propaganda weapon just waiting to be picked up: and now it has. Bush and Cheney refer to the NIE report as "proof" that Iran has been surreptitiously building nuclear weapons in the recent past -- and therefore could be secretly building them again right now. Cheney was very explicit about this during his recent tour of Iraq and other stops in the Middle East -- a trip that many have noted carries sinister echoes of a similar jaunt he made around the region just before the invasion of Iraq. As AP notes:

Vice President Dick Cheney retained his tough stance against Iran on Wednesday and said the U.S. is uncertain if Tehran has restarted the nuclear weaponization program that a U.S. intelligence report says it halted in 2003...Critics of the Bush administration said the report should dampen any campaign for a U.S. confrontation with Iran.

But Cheney that that while the NIE said Iran had a program to develop a nuclear warhead, it remains unclear if it has resumed that activity.

"What it (the NIE) says is that they have definitely had in the past a program to develop a nuclear warhead; that it would appear that they stopped that weaponization process in 2003. We don't know whether or not they've restarted," he said.

Bush too has been pushing this line, most recently in an interview with a government-funded Farsi-language radio station piping White House propaganda into Iran itself. As Dan Froomkin notes, Bush repeated the lie he has often told, asserting that Iran has "declared they want to have a nuclear weapon to destroy people." Iran has always declared the opposite, of course. Bush also echoed Cheney's provocative "mystficiation" about the current state of the alleged Iranian weapons program. As Bush put it: "They've hidden programs in the past and they may be hiding one now, who knows?"

As Polk points out, Bush has made pre-emptive war a cardinal tenet of the official U.S. national security policy, declaring that America "will not wait" for potential security threats to develop, but will "confront challenges earlier and more comprehensively, before they are allowed to mature...In all cases, we will seek to seize the initiative and dictate the tempo, timing, and direction of military operations."

Under such a policy, uncertainty about a potential threat actually becomes a spur to military action. Cheney has long been an evangelist for the "one-percent solution;" i.e., if there is even a one percent chance that some threat might prove true, you must act as if the danger is 100 percent certain to occur. This paranoid lunacy -- or shrewd marketing device to guarantee non-stop boodle from war profiteering -- is now the official governing philosophy of America's foreign policy.

You must read Polk's entire piece to get the full weight and impact of the facts he marshals. But below are a few pertinent excerpts:

The article [a piece in US News and World Report outlining "six signs that the U.S. may be headed for war in Iran"] curiously passes over in silence the much more impressive build-up of naval power in the Persian Gulf. As of the last report I have seen, a major part of the U.S. Navy is deployed in and around the Persian Gulf. The numbers are stunning and include not only a vast array of weapons, including nuclear weapons, cruise and other missiles and hundreds of aircraft but also “insertion” (invasion) forces and equipment. Even then, these already deployed forces amount to only a fraction of the total that could be brought to bear on Iran because aircraft, both bombers and troop and equipment transports, stationed far away in Central Asia, the Indian Ocean, Europe and even in America can be quickly employed .

Of course, deploying forces along Iran’s frontier does not necessarily mean using them. At least that is what the Administration says. However, as a historian and former participant in government, I believe that having troops and weapons on the spot makes their use more likely than not. Why is that?

It is because a massive build-up of forces inevitably creates the “climate” of war. Troops and the public, on both sides, come to accept its inevitability. Standing down is difficult and can entail loss of “face.” Consequently, political leaders usually are carried forward by the flow of events. Having taken steps 1, 2 and 3, they find taking step number 4 logical, even necessary. In short, momentum rather than policy begins to control action. As Barbara Tuchman showed in her study of the origins of the First World War, The Guns of August, even though none of the parties really wanted to go to war, none could stop the process. It was the fact that President Kennedy had been reading Tuchman’s book just before the Cuban Missile Crisis, I believe, that made him so intent on not being “hijacked by events.” His restraint was unusual. More common is a surrender to “sequence” as was shown by the 1991 Gulf War and the 2003 invasion of Iraq. It would have taken a major reversal of policy – and considerable political bravery -- to halt either invasion once the massive build-up was in place. No such effort was made then. Will it be now? I think the odds are against it.

Later, viewing the attack in a larger context, Polk writes:

Thus, even short of a nuclear Armageddon, the “Long War” advocated by the Neoconservatives would spread misery, violence, starvation, disease and death. The “fabric” that holds societies together would be shredded so that a chaos even Hobbes could not have imagined would become common over much of the world. The worst affected would be the poor nations but even rich societies would be corrupted and crippled. Reacting over a generation or more to fear of terrorism and the emotional “blow-back” of war, they would lose faith in law, civil liberties, indeed civil society in general. Strong men would come to the fore proclaiming that survival justifies giving up the civic, cultural and material good life. Step by step along the path of the long war, we could fall into the nightmare George Orwell laid out in his novel 1984.

If this is even a remote and unlikely danger, and I believe it is far more than that, we would be foolish indeed not to try to find means to avoid taking any steps – of which war with Iran would be not a step but a leap -- toward it.

Again, the complex and detailed case Polk puts together should be read in full. But its overall message about a catastrophic and murderous war with Iran is unmistakable: the hour is much, much later than we think.


photo of Chris FloydChris Floyd has been a writer and editor for more than 25 years, working in the United States, Great Britain and Russia for various newspapers, magazines, the U.S. government and Oxford University. Floyd co-founded the blog Empire Burlesque, and is also chief editor of Atlantic Free Press. He can be reached at cfloyd72@gmail.com.

This column is republished here with the permission of the author.



Copyright © 2008 The Baltimore News Network. All rights reserved.

Republication or redistribution of Baltimore Chronicle content is expressly prohibited without their prior written consent.

Baltimore News Network, Inc., sponsor of this web site, is a nonprofit organization and does not make political endorsements. The opinions expressed in stories posted on this web site are the authors' own.

This story was published on March 22, 2008.

 


Public Service Ads: